Not allowed to board trains, say students in Kharkiv
They leave battered city on foot after embassy advisory, only to be blocked from boarding trains even as locals were let in by officials
NEW DELHI: Even as the Indian embassy in Ukraine issued an urgent advisory for students to leave
battered Kharkiv immediately by any means, around 400-500 students stuck at the Kharkiv Railway Station said they were not allowed to board trains to reach Lviv and other western parts of the country.
According to students, the railway officials did not open the gates despite their desperate pleas but
allowed the locals to board the trains.The embassy had advised the students to proceed on foot to three safe zones that are within 20 km from Kharkiv, which are Pisochyn (11 km), Babai (12 km) and Bezlyudivka (16 km) – if they could not get vehicles.
Students claimed that they managed to reach the railway station after a lot of difficulty and found it chock-a-block with people trying to flee. Many stood for hours in bone-chilling cold but could not manage to board. According to Ayush Pandey, a student of Kharkiv National Medical University, the students went to the railway station early in the morning, even before the advisory was issued. “The railway officials did not let us sit inside and even kicked out a few African students who had boarded the trains. They also used force and hit many of those who tried to board with batons,” said Ayush, who is from Delhi.
Later, around 300 students decided to leave for Pesochyn on foot. “We have contacted the Indian embassy officials in Pisochyn who have arranged a shelter for us and have told us that they will arrange our evacuation,” Ayush said. He added that Ukrainian military also helped them to reach Pisochyn.
Another student claimed that even the locals were stopped from boarding the trains. “People were agitated and the locals also started shooting when they were not allowed to sit in the trains. Suddenly, a bomb exploded nearby,” he said.
The embassy’s advisory left the stranded students panicked. Reyham Khan, a first-year medical student, said, “We were staying in bunkers sending SOS messages. But this sudden directive devastated us.”
Panic after advisory
The embassy’s advisory left the stranded students panicked. “We were staying in bunkers sending SOS messages. But this sudden directive had left everyone in a panic,” a student said